Celebrating Local and Community History month

Local and Community History Month is an annual event throughout May. Dr Heather Ellis' highlights the importance of local and community history in her current research project 'The School Meals Service: Past, Present - And Future?'

Photograph of two children eating a school meal

The ESRC-funded project The School Meals Service: Past, Present and Future? aims to produce the first social and cultural history of school meals across the four nations of the UK. Community partnerships, in particular, collaborative work with our four partner schools in Bradford, Cardiff, London and Glasgow are central to our research.

One of the project’s key aims is to carry out more than 100 new oral history interviews with those who have received school meals in the past as well as teachers, parents and catering staff involved in the producing, serving and supervising school meals. The majority of participants for these interviews will be recruited from the communities in which our partner schools are embedded. As many as possible will be paired interviews where two family members, for example, a student at the school today and a grandparent, share their thoughts and feelings about school meals, both today and in the past.

Just as our community partners are key to the research process, they are also central to the impact the project seeks to have. In addition to helping raise awareness of the important place of school meals in local and regional histories, we are keen to promote history in general to communities we work with and encourage all members of the community to participate.

Activities related to the project are planned across the four cities we are working with including school and community workshops, cooking events, library exhibitions and local lectures.

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